What is biblical concept of predestination e.g. Esau and Jacob? Is predestination real today?
What is predestination?
The Bible speaks of predestination in texts like these:
Eph 1:4-5,11: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will . . .”
Rom 8:28-29: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
Does these texts mean that God chooses who He wants to save? Absolutely not! We need to understand some attributes of God before we can understand predestination.
First of all, God knows everything! Dan 2:22: “He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” 1 John 3:20: “For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” Heb 4:13: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Secondly, God is not restrained by time! He is eternal and has no beginning and no end. 2 Peter 3:8: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Deut 32:40: “I lift my hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever . . .” Rev 1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Hard to comprehend, isn’t it? But with these two points in mind, we can start to understand better what predestination means. God, being outside of time, knows what will happen before it happens. That is why He can reveal to His servants future events! Dan 2:28: “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.”
The Bible is filled with prophecies that were fulfilled centuries after being written down. How is this possible? Because God knows everything, even before it happens. With that kind of knowledge, He knows ahead of time who will be saved and who will be not. This is predestination.
Now let’s take a look at what predestination is not. Predestination is not that God arbitrarily decides who is saved and who is not. The Bible is very clear on this: John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Who is saved? Is it the one that God arbitrarily chooses? No! Whoever makes the decision to believe in Jesus is saved. Salvation is based on our decision!
If people were saved arbitrarily, then the Great Commission given by Jesus Himself would not make any sense: Matt 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” There would be no need to proclaim the Gospel if God decided arbitrarily who is saved and who is not. No, the decision regarding our own salvation is ours alone to make. God does everything in His power to save us. He sent His own Son to this planet to give us eternal life. Will you accept Him now in your life?
We could compare this foreknowledge with the following illustration: Imagine that you are flying in a helicopter way out in the air. You are enjoying your ride, but all of a sudden you notice a car that is stuck on a railroad. To your horror, you also notice a train coming around the bend and within minutes that car and its occupants will be history. The occupants of the car don’t know they are in any danger. They don’t even see the train. But because you are way out in the sky you can foresee the drama that will occur before your eyes. That is foreknowledge, or predestination. One big difference in God’s scenario: He is trying to stop the train of destruction by offering you safety. Will you accept His offer?
The concept of predestination has bothered mankind for centuries. Particularly those who have some knowledge of God. Having understood that God knows the end from the beginning, that He knows who will choose to follow Him, who will make up His flock and who will be lost, can lead one to believe that it is all part of a plan, that we are in fact predestined to whatever fate awaits us. Some verses in the bible also ‘seem to’ point to this concept.
It is clear that some men and women were raised up for a special purpose, part of God’s plan. This is not to be understood that their salvation was predestined, only their role in history. Such is the case with Esau and Jacob.
Romans 9:11-AV (For [the children] being not yet born, neither
having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according
to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
In this verse Paul is speaking of the as yet unborn twins, Esau and Jacob. PNT explains it as follows:
“For [the children]”. The children, yet unborn, were both Isaac’s
seed according to the flesh; hence, according to the flesh, of the
promised seed, and both equally without works, “neither having done
good nor evil”.
“That the purpose of God according to election might stand”. That it might stand forth that he made the choice of his own will, freely. Of his own will he chose Jacob, yet unborn, to become the head of the chosen race, rather than Esau. Note that this election was not to eternal salvation, but to become the head of a people. As Moses, Samuel, and John the Baptist were raised up for a great work of God, so was Jacob. Another verse that is often thought to support predestination is this one:
Romans 8:29-AV For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
PNT explains it as follows: “#Ro 8:29” “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate”. To foreknow and to predestinate are not the same thing. One is an act of foreknowledge, or knowing something before it occurs; the other is to decree something. We only have knowledge of the past, but God foresees the future even as he sees the past; foresees it, not because he has decreed it, but because there are no limitations on his knowledge.
Augustine says: “There can be no predestination without foreknowledge; but there can be foreknowledge without predestination.”
“Whom does God foreknow”? Those who shall love God. As he looked into the future these were present to his mind; foreknown. “What did he predestinate of them”? Not that they should love God. Not that they should believe; nor that some should be saved and others damned; but that those who he saw beforehand would love God, should be “conformed to the image of his Son”. The only thing predestinated, or foreordained, is that those who love God as revealed in Christ shall become Christlike in life, and like Christ in eternity. This is the only decree in the passage.
The common understanding of predestination is that it has been decided by God who shall enter Heaven and who shall be lost. This concept is clearly false. The message of salvation clearly gives us a choice as to whether we will follow Christ or Satan. In fact, we are ALL ‘predestined’ to enter Heaven in the sense that Jesus died for the sins of everyone, but many will choose not to go.
Matthew 18:14-AV Even so it is not the will of your Father which
is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
John 3:16-AV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
As for predestination being present in our modern times, I expect it is in the sense that prophecy will be fulfilled. At the appointed time, Jesus will return to take to Himself all who have chosen to follow Him. Before this happens, other predictions concerning events to take place will be fulfilled also. However, as for individuals and whether we will be saved or lost, that is as it has always been. We have a choice. We only have the time we spend on this earth to make that choice. It is most important that this decision not be put off because no one of us knows the hour of our death. It may be many years in the future or in the next moment. God knows which of us will make that choice, but He won’t force us to do it, just welcome us when we come.
God bless all readers. Lance Wearmouth
Wouldn’t that whole argument come down to whether or not one can have free will “forced” upon them. I would think that God KNOWS all of the future but doesn’t, though He could, CAUSE all the future.
Thanks for taking the time to read my correspondence,
I view this as Jesus…” walking backwards ” through life…(He’s already conquered it for us; as in walking on the water…He’s placed all that we will face…under HIS feet.)… all the time reaching out to us saying…” You can do it, get back up, I’m here with you”, much as a parent encouraging a child to walk. But because there are more than 3 dimensions, to this universe, He already knows what we have chosen…yet He still gives us the choice.
All I have to say about predestination is this: “His ways are not of our ways, his understanding is higher than our understanding”. What seems unfair-Esau to us may have a divine purpose behind it. Sure, predestination is real today. “He is the same today, yesterday, and still to come”.
I do feel that predestination is real today. God has predestined all of our lives, and through the trials and tribulations we are moved into His predestined plan. He has given us free will, but it is the trials that have a way of turning or changing our minds of doing what we want, to turning our lives over to God. Ultimately God will have His Will in our lives, therefore our lives are predestined.
When I read the Bible, which has become one of my favorite books, I have made a mental note that our attitude while reading this magnificent book defines the message that we are to receive via the Holy Ghost. We should understand that “letter killeth” and thus seek to understand the deeper meaning of the Bible to our lives. It is said all over the Bible that man’s (he or she) habitual thoughts, actions and beliefs mold his or her future.
It is my 100% conviction that there are no idle words in the Bible. Thus the Bible is full of good promises that God gives us everything we ask him, believing in faith! It is quite clear that God speaks to our hearts when we open the divine channel for communication.
There is no predestination other than YOU create. You are at charge of yourself and your thoughts. God is there to help you, but you must make the effort to seek God via Jesus Christ.. When you do this, predestination disappears and you are set free.
Oh yes all good things of life are set before you…or otherwise the Bible would be telling us lies and that cannot be so. We have to drop our freas, prejudices and suspicions… Lets understand that we are living under the most divine and our lives are full of blessings when we go back to God.
I am 100% confident that there is no predestination of any sort.. otherwise our lives would be meaningless and we would have no free will nor our position would be anything but God’s puppets playing out their roles.
I send all of you my kindest regards, and wish you the best of blessings!
I believe that predestination is very real today.
Generally, God has predestined that we be adopted sons through Jesus Christ. (Eph 1). However, we have a part to play – to make a choice. We may choose not to be adopted sons and so our end/outcome of our lives will be based on this choice.
However, I believe God knows what we will choose before we make the choice and so He knows what we will end up as. Likewise in the case of Esau and Jacob, He knew the final outcome before they were born (Gen. 25: 23). This outcome was based on the choices they made. Esau made the choice of selling his birthright for a plate of pottage and lost the position of being head (Gen. 25:29 – 34). thus followed the subsequent events in their lives in which Jacob received spoken blessing into his live from their father on his deathbed pronouncing him head and stating that his brothers will serve him (Gen. 27).